Woolly Highland Coos, rocky seashores, and a lake inhabited by a migrating monster were just some of the fun parts of this month's Loch Ness Monster Nature Book Club.
Woolly Highland Coos, rocky seashores, and a lake inhabited by a migrating monster were just some of the fun parts of this month's Loch Ness Monster #NatureBookClub. #ihsnet #homeschool #thenaturebookclub
Taking our Nature Book Club to Scotland
This month we departed from our normal nature book club and headed out to the bonnie country of Scotland. Now, I don't want you to think that we normally venture into the wilds of foreign countries for nature study. However, I'm a homeschool mom so when I see an opportunity for learning, I take it.
It just so happens that we were taking a family vacation to Scotland this month. The Scottish countryside is absolutely beautiful in the spring and most of it is unobstructed with large sprawling cities like in the states. So when we set foot onto the lush green grass, we immediately started noticing all the vegetation, wildlife, and geography that was different from our home.
We collected seashells from the rocky shores and touched kelp tossed up by the waves. The yellow bushes that were all over the countryside we learned were called Gorse or Furze. And, the crazy cows or Highland Coo were all decked out in their long, wavy woolly coats. So many new delights were a feast for our eyes and our imagination.
But none of these were as mysterious as the most famous creature in Scotland, the Loch Ness Monster.
Is the Loch Ness Monster Real?
In our family, we have mixed opinions. Some of us are strongly against the idea that "Nessie" is real, some of us are strongly supportive of a real-life prehistoric monster and some... well, some of us don't really know where we stand on the issue.
As we drove along the edge of Loch Ness we admired the beauty and peacefulness of the loch. A loch is basically a Scottish lake though it can also mean a sea inlet. The loch at Inverness known as Loch Ness is a huge body of water that reaches 28 miles long and nearly 800 feet deep.
At the bottom of the loch there is said to live a monster. Many people over the last few hundred years have claimed to have seen a large creature sometimes swimming in the loch and sometimes crossing the road. The descriptions range from describing a prehistoric beast to an enormous fish. Some believe the sightings are just tricks of the eye on the water while others believe the huge fish who swim through the loch to breed each year have been mistaken for the monster.
What ever you choose to believe, you can't convince the locals that Nessie doesn't exist. She has been a part of the folklore for centuries and will continue to inspire more stories for years to come.
The most widely accepted explanation for the Loch Ness monster is a commonly known fish here in the states, the Atlantic Salmon. The rivers that feed into the loch are spawning grounds for the Atlantic Salmon. These fish are normally only about 2-3 feet in length, but they have been known to get up to nearly 5 feet long and over a hundred pounds! If a fish that large jumped out of the water near me, I might consider it a monster as well!
These salmon are born near the lochs and migrate to the oceans to live their adult lives. But each year they migrate back to their spawning grounds to breed. Every year they grow in size and it is believed that the larger of the species may account for some of the sightings.
Another huge migrating monster, and my personal belief as to what inspired Nessie (#TeamNessieIsAFish), is the Sturgeon. This fish actually looks like a dinosaur! The sturgeon can grow to enormous lengths. They are known to grow over 3000 pounds and 24 feet long!
Like the salmon, these fish are born in fresh water and migrate to the ocean to live. Then they return to their birth rivers to reproduce. Sturgeon are known to live in Loch Ness and its rivers.
Sadly several species of sturgeon are nearly extinct due to over fishing and dams and pollution that keep the fish from returning to their spawning waters. Some believe that giant sturgeons on their way to spawn have created some of the sightings of "Nessie."
The Treasure of the Loch Ness Monster
While we were at Loch Ness we found a delightful picture book about one of the stories of the Loch Ness monster, The Treasure of the Loch Ness Monster. This book is so gorgeous that I had to bring it home.
As I was considering this nature book club, I realized this book would be perfect for our online nature book clubs. It has mystery, fantasy and giant fish! What else do you need to inspire your children to want to learn about all the mysteries in nature?
The Treasure of the Loch Ness Monster Online Book Club
Join us for a Scottish Nature Adventure!
Let's read the book, The Treasure of the Loch Ness Monster. Then let's go on rabbit trails of discovery about Scotland, migration and more! We will toss some magic dust in the air and jump into the book with hands-on adventures.
And when we've finished the book, let's throw a party and celebrate migrating monsters!
Take a Sneak Peek into our The Treasure of the Loch Ness Monster Online Book Club:
Adding adventure to the picture book, The Treasure of the Loch Ness Monster
Now for the Nature Book Club!
The Nature Book Club is a monthly link-up beginning on the 20th day of each month. It’s a monthly book club devoted to connecting children to nature through books. Each month has a different theme. We welcome your nature book and activity related links!
This Month's Nature Book Club theme:
The Nature Book Club is brought to you by these 3 nature loving bloggers and myself who are your co-hosts! Are you following them? If you don’t want to miss anything, be sure to follow each one.
Here are the co-hosts, their choices of books, and activities for the month:
Mapping Animal Migrations by Karyn at Teach Beside Me
Learning about Monarch Butterflies by Thaleia at Something 2 Offer
Hi, I’m Dachelle. I’m a homeschooling mom of 3 in the South. I love chocolate and have been known to hide it from my children. I can often be found reading a good book (or even sometimes just an okay book) and enjoying a jar of Nutella — don’t judge. I blog, here, at HideTheChocolate.com when I’m not creating book clubs and making lists…lots and lots of lists (it’s an addiction). Learn more…